Former refugees who started new lives in Christchurch coped well with the devastating earthquakes despite most residents not receiving any help from authorities, new research shows.

The refugees from Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Bhutan living in Christchurch at the time of the September 4, 2010 earthquake took part in the University of Canterbury study, headed by health science graduate Mohamud Osman - a Somali refugee.

Three-quarters of participants said they had coped well, spirituality and religious practice being an important support for many, despite less than 20 per cent receiving support from mainstream relief agencies.

Over 80 per cent of all participants did not receive help or support from Christchurch City Council or Earthquake Commission, and over two-thirds reported difficulty in accessing help and information.


The study concluded that more support and engagement from local services was needed in order to build trust and cooperation between the refugee and local communities.